Recall how you find a name in a telephone book?
You don't read any more than necessary to find
the name you seek. Notice that you go directly
down a column of news.
you use your finger to guide your eyes. This
type of reading is usually called scanning.
Skimming uses the same type of skill
mechanically but a different skill mentally. In
scanning, you know what you are looking for. In
skimming you don't.
Since you don't know exactly what you are
looking for while skimming, prepare yourself by
reading the title, source, author, and picture:
then you question yourself, -- who, what, when,
where is this likely to be mainly about? With a
questioning mind you direct your eyes down the
column of print, or in a zig-zag, if the lines
are quite long. Look for exact names of people,
places, things, ideas, numbers, and words like
therefore, whenever, until, because, and
instead, to clue you to how and why.
When you first start to learn to skim you may
see only the words in bold type, italics,
digits, or capitalized words. Soon you will note
new or unusual vocabulary. As you become an
efficient skimmer your span of perception will
develop and your ability to make closure will
Skimming is a step you should always take before
you read any article of factual or practical
narrative. You will soon be able to detect most
important facts, strange vocabulary, and words
that are clues to important relationships.
It's a good practice to skim everything in mass
media after reading the title and first
paragraph. You may get all the information you
want. This keeps your skimming skills from
deteriorating, or will give you the practice you
need to develop necessary skills.
Skim everything you intend to read before you
make a final decision to read, discard, or study
Skim all highlighting and develop a read-skim
pattern to use for rapid review. And don't
overlook this! Reviewing frequently and rapidly
is the best way to memorize (or simply remember
information) from notes and long text
By College of St. Benedict / St. John's